Today begins Diwali – the annual five-day festival described by Wikipedia as being celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and even some Buddhists. The festival marks different historical events with stories that symbolize the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair.
Every faith tradition has a version of the stories that provide meaning for Diwali, and even our atheist friends can embrace the concept of good vs. evil without the context of a deity. Like similar events that mark calendars around the world, Diwali is a time to pause, reflect and either renew faith or resolve to do and be better.
Based on that thought, I propose we fill our lives with the positive light of good, knowledge and hope as we enter the election homestretch. Let’s lift up our dialogue with our friends on social media with posts and in-person dialogue marked by positivity and make the effort to resist the many temptations of Trump-bashing (even if there are so many). Raleigh’s Lauren Brockman put it very powerfully today by saying:
We’re not going to win by bashing Trump anymore.
We’re going to win by getting them excited about a positive vision for the future.
On that thought, here is a distillation of 19 positive reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton that capture the essence of what she stands for. I culled and edited these from an overwhelming post on the Hillary Clinton.com website titled, 133 Reasons (and counting!) Hillary Clinton Should be our Next President. These value statements also apply more broadly to Democratic candidates all the way down the ballot this election, and they serve as a counterweight to the constant negativity fueled by the conservative media:
- Child care, equal pay, and paid leave are fundamental economic issues—not just “women’s issues.”
- Our democracy should work for everyone—not just the wealthy and well-connected.
- We can protect the right to bear arms AND also protect ourselves with comprehensive background checks on gun purchases – they are not mutually exclusive. Gun purchase, ownership and use by domestic abusers, violent criminals, the severely mentally ill, and suspected terrorists, should be restricted.
- We can address climate change with investments in renewable energy sources and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
- Everyone benefits (not just immigrants) from immigration reform that includes a path to full and equal citizenship.
- Women should have the right to make decisions about their own bodies, and government has no business regulating wombs.
- A college education should be affordable for any one that wants one, and there is no reason to treat student loans differently than mortgages or other future investments.
- Infrastructure is the lifeblood of our economy and we should rebuild or update and expand our transportation, communications and public utility networks.
- Voting rights are fundamental and we should make it easier for all American adults to vote everywhere.
- Human rights matter. When anyone’s rights are threatened. all rights are threatened. Women’s rights are human rights. Gay rights and transgender rights are human rights.
- Black lives matter and so do others – but black people are disproportionately being killed by law enforcement. That’s the issue.
- Families matter – all families should have access to affordable child care, health care and high quality education for their children.
- Everyone should have access to the same opportunities to live, work, play and plan for the future.
- There is no good reason for women to receive less pay than men for equivalent work and we should fix this.
- Tax evasion is illegal for individuals and should also be illegal for corporations.
- All Corporations and corporate officers should be held accountable when they break the law. Too big to fail means too big.
- The Affordable Care Act is working—but there are issues with it and we can (and should) fix them.
- Veterans should have access to timely and high quality health care. Period.
- Mental health should never be stigmatized and we should remove barriers to accessing care.
Let us all be the light we want to see fill the world during this election homestretch, all the while never giving up the canvassing, phone banking and general supporting until we get our candidates elected! However the elections turn out, let’s also continue after the election to “go high” as Michelle Obama so powerfully put it. My goal is to emerge from all this with my dignity intact and to be confident I did not belittle or berate anyone else who doesn’t agree with me.
That’s how I think we can all be the light.